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James Bailey
"I want to do nothing" vs "I don't want to do anything" I am having a hard time describing the subtle difference between these two frases in portuguese. It started with the difference between "I want nothing" and "I don't want anything." The subtle difference being that in the first phrase you actively want nothing, if you had possessions you would get rid of them all. Where as in the second phrase it is more temporary, the implied meaning being "I dont want anything (other than what I already have) or (more) or (else) or (right now)." I have tried to describe this difference to the people I am speaking portuguese with but they just seem confused as the translation for both phrases in each example would be "eu não quero fazer nada" and "eu nao quero nada" respectively. Can you help me explain this subtle difference between these two sentiments in Portuguese?
Oct 13, 2016 1:54 PM
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Answers · 6
Brazilian natives simple don't say "I want to do nothing". This kind of sentence's structure do not exist in the Portuguese language. Therefore brazilians don't grasp easily the difference between "I want to do nothing" and "I don't want to do anything". At least I, as a brazilian, don't perceive any difference!
October 13, 2016
Bem... I don't want to do anything é algo que dizemos quando estamos indispostos (aka Mortos de Preguiça) ou quando realmente não queremos fazer nada - sem exercícios, sem atividades, sem trabalho, sem escola, sem caminhada, sem banho, anyby, NADA. - Eu não quero fazer nada. I want to do nothing - É basicamente a mesma coisa... Difícil explicar. - Eu não quero fazer nada... Consfuse... Desculpa. Não muito útil para responder essa pergunta. Mas em ambos os casos, basicamente você está indisposto, chateado ou com preguiça.
October 13, 2016
Hello James... Primeiro tenho que te dizer que em raríssimos casos vc vai ouvir alguem dizendo "I want to do nothing" (realmente não eh comum, mas deixei um exemplo abaixo). Como uma nativa vou tentar explicar em que momentos eu usaria ambas as expressoes: 1. I don't want to do anything - Estou de folga hoje... entao eu não quero fazer nada! 2. I want to do nothing - Sabe o que eu quero fazer hoje? Eu quero fazer nada! Perceba que na 2nd a pessoa quase deu a entender que queria de fato fazer alguma coisa, mas na verdade estava 'brincando'. Chegou na última palavra e ao invés de dizer que queria comer/sair/dormir/etc , a pessoa disse "fazer nada". Ou seja, nos raros casos que usamos aqui no Brasil, é para sermos sarcásticos/irônicos. I hope I could help you, James!
October 24, 2016
I see where you're having a hard time explaining these two sentences to native Portuguese speakers. The things is that in Portuguese "I don't want anything" and "I want nothing" has the same translation. If you say "eu quero nada" to Portuguese speakers they will understand, but it doesn't sound natural at all, that is why "Eu não quero nada" stands for both sentences. In Portuguese, double negatives are grammatically correct and we use them a lot, so a sentence like "I don't know anything" and "I know nothing" has the same translation into Portuguese "Eu não sei de nada". I don't know if I got the message across so far haha. You can try explaining to them that if they say "I want nothing" means that they actually want nothing, they would give away all that they have in order to have nothing at all. Whereas, "I don't want anything" implies that they don't want more than they already have at the moment, which is what you explained in your question. The hard one to explain is " I want nothing". So, "I don't want to do anything [1]" or "I want to do nothing [2]" (Eu não quero fazer nada) you can explain that the first one, the person really wants to do nothing, he or she doesn't want to do any other activity besides nothing and the second one, the person doesn't want to do what someone expects he or she to do or what he or she has to do, but they will eventually do other thing. It is tough to explain this because literally both sound the same to us. In Portuguese, it doesn't make sense to want nothing, how do you want nothing if nothing is not something? haha. I hope I was able to help you!
October 13, 2016
Let me try to explain to you my point of view about your doubt, when the brazilian native say " I don't want to do anything " we are speaking about some daily tasks that we must to do, other hand when we say " I want to do nothing" it sounds weird depending of the situation, for example: hi James what will you do in the weekend ? you could say ; oh man, I don't want to do anything just stay at home and get some rest. Bom James vou tentar explicar em português, as frases podem não fazer sentido dependendo da situação, quando dizemos " I don't want to do anything " seria como se não quisemos fazer nenhum tipo de atividade, seja ela física, ou mental, já quando se fala " I want to do nothing " seria a mesma frase -> ( I don't want to do anything ) só que estariamos negando uma afirmação. boa sorte com os estudos , se precisar de ajuda " let me know " grande abraços !!!!
October 13, 2016
James Bailey
Language Skills
English, Portuguese
Learning Language
Portuguese